Reach out.
Find it.
Right now.

Are you drowning, waiting to be saved?
Ignore the rules, tear up the boundaries, shatter the chains, go to places you can’t go.

Is the way too hard, too far, not for you?
Stop being an echo for empty voices.
No one knows the real you.
Your heart is buried too deep for anyone to see its size.

We are giants, pretending to be small.

Scared to Care

We float on the surface of life, happy to ignore the depths we can’t see.
How often do we think of the thousands of miles of earth beneath our feet,
the microscopic worlds within us,
or the endless light-years of space above our heads?

And it’s not much different, closer to home.
We know how to use a smart phone or computer, but how many of us understand the electronics that give them life?
I’m happy to sit in a car or plane, and let them move me, though I know little of how they function.
And I don’t think much about the body beneath my skin, unless something goes wrong.

Our mind and heart are even more mysterious.
There’s so much about who I am that is out of reach, and I’m all too comfortable with ignorance, especially when it comes to emotions.

What are these movements of energy that have names like joy, anger, grief, and fear?
Each one has its own unique identity, like the colors of the rainbow.
Science can tell us what range of frequencies corresponds to each color, or what happens in our brains and bodies when an emotion passes through us.
But the experience of each color and each emotion is totally different than the technical details.

And we don’t just ignore the depths of emotion; we actively hide from them.

For many reasons.
Grief and fear aren’t fun to experience.
And our culture is obsessed with feeling good.

Society encourages us to define ourselves by our feelings and thoughts as much or more than by what we do.
Negative feelings tear at that self-image.
Fear makes us feel small and weak.
Anger makes us feel out of control, and often guilty for what we say while angry.

Some of us hide from positive feelings, too.
Emotions are so powerful they make us feel out of control.
And if we let in one emotion, the others will follow.

We’re afraid to care.
Not because we’re heartless.
We let parents, children, spouses, and friends into our heart to share their joys and pains.
And the sorrows of the world, reported in the media that surrounds us, break through once in a while.

It’s not that we have hearts of stone, but we wonder what would happen if we let ourselves feel without limit?
Could we stomach letting the horrors and hopelessness that many face every day into our comfortable lives?

Emotions paralyze, but they also teach us.
Our fears, sadness, and anger often point us to places where we need to go to realize the potential within us.
Our emotions are an opening, a weak spot in the walls of our lives, where we can break through to something greater.

We can become more like machines and follow the same tired paths every day in a world of objects where feelings are foolish.
Or we can live.

What Kind of Life is Worth Living?

How do you react when you hear that question?
Do you stop, look within, and think about who you want to be, and what you want out of life?

Or do you get defensive, expecting another self-proclaimed expert to tell you how to fix your life?

My life’s not perfect.

I’d like to find/strengthen, or develop new abilities, and do things that seem out of reach.
I want to experience new possibilities in myself, so the world remains new and fresh around me.

There are endless books and methods of personal development that tell us what to become, and how to move along a path from where we are to where we want to be.

A few books are focused on giving us a new vision of life.
These books show us that who we are, what we’re capable of, and the way that we and the world live, is only one possibility among many.

Such books inspire us to rethink what is possible for ourselves, and the world.

I received a copy of a book like this recently, called A Life Worth Living, by Bill Giruzzi.

Typical for me, I try to get an overview of the book before I sit down to read it.
I look at the covers, the introduction, and the table of contents:

  1. Work is a Cultural Phenomenon
  2. It’s All Made Up
  3. Building Blocks
  4. Paradigm of Business
  5. Is this It?
  6. Someday the sun will go out
  7. The Curtain, Please
  8. The New Paradigm
  9. Not of this World
  10. Meet Your Narrator
  11. The future
  12. A New Mind, A New World
  13. The Edge of Language
  14. A Life Worth Living

It’s a small book.
And it doesn’t take long to read it.
But the issues that Bill raises, and the questions he asks us at the end of each chapter will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.

[Continue reading: What Kind of Life is Worth Living?]

Freedom to be Irrational?

Relative Freedom
(In Part 1 of this series, we explored Sway, by Ori and Rom Brafman, a powerful book that discusses several psychological forces that drive irrational behavior. Here, in Part 2, we continue by looking at Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely.)

How free are you?

Some people pretend that they are completely free to make their own decisions.
But it’s not true.
Everyone is influenced in an endless number of ways.

Don’t give up, though!
We can focus on maximizing our freedom.

Learn about the common forces that influence you, and you have a chance to neutralize those influences, or use them to your advantage!

[Continue reading: Freedom to be Irrational?]

Make Your Own Decisions!

Under the Influence
How do you make decisions?

Do you analyze the situation, and weigh all the pros and cons before taking action?
Or do you just go with your gut, without giving it much thought?

Whichever way you decide, you probably feel that you’re in charge of your decisions, and your life.

Sometimes our gut feelings are based on all kinds of subtle issues that our unconscious mind has digested to give us a quick answer.

Sometimes our feelings express what is truly important to us, even though we haven’t put it into words and thoughts.

There’s nothing wrong with going with your feelings.
Conscious thinking isn’t the only way to understand the world.

But our feelings are not always our own.

[Continue reading: Make Your Own Decisions!]